Home About Us Ten Years After: The FBI Since 9/11 Just the Facts Criminal Investigative Division
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Criminal Investigative Division

Criminal Investigative Division

The Criminal Investigative Division (CID) is the FBI’s largest operational division, with 4,800 field special agents, 300 intelligence analysts, and 520 Headquarters employees addressing an array of sophisticated and increasingly globalized criminal threats. Having served as a foundational strength of the FBI for nearly a century when the events of 9/11 took place, CID has confronted significant challenges to its traditional business model as the FBI has grown to meet the national security threats facing our country.

Shift in Resources

  • Successful organizations must develop and adhere to a strategic vision during times of competing priorities and limited resources. CID recognized this and has changed aspects of its business model to not only work successfully in an environment of limited resources, but to also improve the quality of the outcomes achieved.
  • In the 12 months immediately following 9/11, CID lost 26 percent of its agent workforce as resources were shifted to build organizational capacity against the immediate threat to U.S. national security.
  • Investigations from which resources were taken represented lower-priority matters where FBI involvement was not always necessary. For instance, in 2002, the FBI maintained 2,900 bank fraud investigations in which the dollar loss was less than $100,000. Today, the FBI only has four such matters out of 4,800 pending bank and mortgage fraud investigations. 


  • Other evidence of successful change is found in the expansion of partnerships with state, local, and international law enforcement.
  • CID leveraged its relationships with local, federal, and state law enforcement in the formation of nearly 400 different task forces targeting violent crime and gangs, public corruption at all levels, mortgage fraud, corporate fraud, and other financial-based crimes. Today, there are 228 Safe Streets Task Forces, compared with 172 in 2001. 
  • This overall growth equates to over 1,600 additional task force officers carrying out the FBI’s strategy; of those, more than 700 combat gangs and violent crime. 
  • The quality of task force efforts is revealed in the average length of sentences being handed out to gang members convicted as a result of FBI investigations. In 2010, the average sentence length was over 90 months in prison, compared with 77 months in 2001.
  • In its efforts to address crime emanating from overseas, the FBI has co-located special agents with international partners in Southeast Europe, Mexico, Asia, and South America.

Prioritization of Cases

  • CID continues to rebuild its capacity and currently focuses resources on the highest-priority threats facing the nation.
  • Public corruption and civil rights are CID’s top two priorities, and the division has enjoyed the benefits of a motivated and well-trained workforce. The public corruption program recently saw its largest takedown in history, with the arrest of 120 law enforcement and military personnel and their associates in Operation Guardshack out of the San Juan Division. 
  • The FBI continues to lead the nation’s efforts to combat white-collar crime. Annual convictions have grown from 2,952 in 2001 to 4,236 in 2010. Agents and a talented cadre of forensic accountants now focus on the 2,100 mortgage fraud matters, each with losses exceeding $1 million, and the 103 percent increase in securities fraud investigations since 2001, which now total 2,500.

Emerging Threats

  • Going forward, criminal agents and intelligence analysts will develop and focus investigative strategies against complex and globalized criminal organizations posing threats to U.S. national security.
  • Specific emphasis has been placed on the emerging threat of the Eurasian organized crime syndicates engaged in a variety of criminal activities, including health care fraud, mortgage fraud, and money laundering.
  • CID, in conjunction with other federal law enforcement agencies, continues to closely monitor violence resulting from the actions of Mexican drug trafficking organizations along the Southwest border with the goal of preventing spillover violence into the United States.

September 2011


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- By The Numbers
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The Day Everything Changed